Don't Just Get a Charge Out of Your Devices, Get a Charge Into Them With These Innovative External Chargers

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Because battery life has always plagued cell phones, I've had an external battery pack for my smartphone almost as long as I've had a smartphone. I started with a slide-on battery for my iPhone 3, moved on to protective cases with integrated batteries for my iPhone 4, and when those (two of them) stopped working I moved to a power bank (aka a brick) with enough power to charge my phone more than twicce or my iPad a little more than 1.5 times, or any other device that has a charging cable with a USB connector on one end. Now, external chargers are being offered in many different shapes and sizes. These are some of the more interesting ones I saw at CES this year.

Ampy Move

Ampy Move

The Ampy move is billed as, "the world's first motion-charger". It converts the kinetic energy generated by your own movement to charge a the Move's battery. A USB connector on the device allows you to charge any other device  that uses a USB charging cable. The Move can also be charged by plugging into a wall outlet. The company claims that one hour of exercise translates into five hours of standby time.

There is also a companion app (free) that helps you track the calories you've burned while charging the battery.

Ampy's Move is available for $99.00 from their own website. An accessory pack that also includes an arm/leg band and holster/clamp to help you wear the device while you are moving/generating charge on the device is available for an additional $30.



AmpWare's crank case offers a different take on user-generated charge with a protective case that has an integrated crank/generator that is turned to charge the phone. Another departure for their case/charger is that in order to keep the weight down, the AmpWare case does not contain a battery. The crank/generator charges the phone's own battery directly. The company claims that 5 minutes of cranking yields up to one hour of use or up to five hours of standby time.

The AmpWare case is available for pre-order at the company's site (for delivery in March 2016) for $79.00.



The CulCharge power bank is a little more traditional-type power bank in that it has an integrated battery that is charged via USB and a wall outlet. Its small size is the first thing that sets it apart. It weighs in at only 1.3 ounces (38 grams). The second is that because the charging connector is integrated into the device, you have to slect either the iOS or Android version when you buy it.CulCharge can also serve as a data transfer cable to connect your phone to your computer. Its 1000maH battery will charge an iPhone 6 a little more than one full charge.

The CulCharge is designed to be added to your keychain so it's something you can always carry and have available when you need it. So are USB drives though, and I can't remember the last time I saw anyone carry one on their keychain. To further incentivize adding the device to your keychain, CulCharge also incudes a flashlight.

The CulCharge is available for purchase from the company's webite in iOS ($39.99) and Android ($32.99) versions.

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